Living with FIL with bad hygiene. What can I do - AgingCare.com

Living with FIL with bad hygiene. What can I do

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A year and a half ago my FIL moved in with us on a couple hours notice. We have never really liked eachother but it's what you do for family, right? I love my husband so of course we took this on.

My FIL has always been an "all about me" type of person. Always wants people feeling sorry for him etc Now he does have medical issues. He had bladder cancer and underwent surgery to completely remove his bladder a couple of years before he came to live with us. He is now cancer free. However he is having kidney problem with have left him with stents in both kidneys and bags on the outside to drain both kidneys.

We have pretty much turned our entire household inside out to keep him "happy". At first he was very active though he has always spent almost all his time alone in his room. We've tried repeatedly to suggest senior centers, he refuses to even discuss it. Though he has legitimate medical complaints that we absolutely pay attention to, this man is the very definition of a hypochondriac. If he sneezes he has a Pneumonia. Any and every possible illness he reads or hears about he is convinced he has, until he finds a new one. He is constantly finding something to complain about. We are never able to relax in our own house. We are stressed out all the time.

Over the last six months he's gone severely downhill. I honestly do not know how much is medical and how much is his state of mind and just wanting to give up. I do believe he has arthritis in his knees that is making walking hard for him, but my instinct and BS-o-meter just knows it's not as bad as he is making it out to be. We can't drag him out of his room. He no longer wants to go to the store for anything, he just sends us with a list.

My biggest problem is his hygiene and the state of his room. He won't shower anymore until my husband bluntly tells him he stinks and even then it's a matter of bothering him until he just does it. He has bags on both sides in addition to his Ostomy bag in front to collect urine. He won't walk one door down in the hallway to empty them in the bathroom. Instead he fills juice bottles and any other container he can find in his room and they sit and sit for days on end, sometimes longer. He evens has a walker right outside his room to help him make this very small trip. The entire back of my house reeks of his urine.

He also seems completely unable to throw any garbage in the large can we keep right there in his room. He sleeps in a recliner instead of his bed because his tubes hurt to much to lay flat. So his bed has become basically a garbage heap from all the wrappers and crumbs from all the junk food he insists on hoarding in there. He doesn't come out to eat, we deliver his meals to his room.

Now of course we do go in there and clean but honestly we're not his nursing or maid service. He should be able to use his garbage can, shouldn't he? I've tried overlooking the urine too and helping to dump it but honestly I just can't. I can't handle the smell, maybe that just makes me a terrible person.

What can I do? Part of me wants to just leave well enough alone and not rock the boat. But the other part of me wants to put my foot down and tell him that he needs to make a choice. If he can't help a little by throwing his trash away and actually emptying his urine in the bathroom then maybe he needs to go where he can have a full time nursing staff to help him.

Something has to change. I just don't know what.

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You do need to set limits and boundaries. I think the best advice is to get his doctor to order for home care services. My mom had it for over 13 years. My dad now has it. They have 2 kinds of home care services. My dad has both. He has a nurse visit once a week to check on him and his vitals. And we have the govt caregivers who comes 4 times a week (suppose to be once a week for 4 hours but we asked to break it into one hour four times a week) to sponge bathe dad, mop his surrounding area. They also do light housekeeping - like change all of my dad's sheets (pillows and beddings), put it in the washer, etc.... In the 23 years I had helped caregive mom, only 1 time - when she was bedridden - did I wash her from head to toe. It was too exhausting and time consuming. That father and I agreed to let the govt caregiver do it 4 times a week. Dad's been bedridden for about 3 years now. And not once have I ever given him a sponge bath. I do a quick wipe down from his shoulders to his pamper area every time I change his pamper. I also change his shirt every time I change his pamper. So far, so good. And my dad actually listens more to the govt caregiver than he does with me. So not much resistance from him.
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Why did he have to come and live with you with only a couple hours notice? what was his previous living conditions? I think It's time to lay down the law and reclaim your house. You shouldn't have to put up with his nasty gross habits. There is no way I would allow anyone, regardless of their medical problems, to keep urine filled bottles anywhere in my house. Insist that he put his trash in the trash can you provided him. I would also refuse to bring his meals to him. Let him know that you will no longer be his servant/personal slave, and if he requires one on one nursing care you will either have him placed in a NH or he will have to pay for someone else to come in and care for him. Tough love. Do not let this person jeperdize your or anyone else's health.
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I'm with Pam - get the aides in. They don't have to discuss anything, they just do their job. No discussion. And you don't need his permission to request their visits, either. Good, stout, brisk professionals, sponges in hand, that's what you want.

Um. Given his list of legitimate medical concerns, I'm not sure how much room there is left for hypochondria? But I do understand your frustration. Best of luck.
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I think you've been far more tolerant of FIL and agree that it's time to consider a heart-to-heart talk with him, although I suspect he would stare at you without emotion and not do anything one way or the other. Then you start looking for a placement for him.

The garbage collection in his room is a health hazard for your whole family, and you have a right on behalf of yourself and family to address that issue.

One thing I would do immediately is stop serving him food in his room. If he doesn't even get some exercise, he's going to become so weak he'll begin to compromise his ability to stand and walk.

If he can't get up to come for dinner, he can go without meals a few times. That might motivate him.

I think you're at the tough love point, and this won't be easy. But good luck.

Oh, and I've used kitty litter to absorb musty smells in storage units and garages, and it does work. Put a whole bag of it in FIL's room!
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Ask his MD to order aides for his bathing and personal clean up. Get a commode to collect the urine in, ordered by the MD, with deodorant packs to absorb the urine smell. It sounds like his kidneys are failing further and now the urine smell will come out of the pores in his skin, another reason to order home health care aides. They can also strip his bed and put on fresh sheets, get his clothes changed and put through the wash with bleach to destroy the odor. In the meantime, put baking soda in the urine collection bottles, or a scented kitty litter. Aides will be a huge help.
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